Navajo Nation will send $2,000 to adults and $600 to kids in COVID-19 hardship aid

By: - January 5, 2022 1:21 pm
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The Navajo people are getting some much needed help from their Tribal government as another round of COVID-19 hardship assistance checks are expected to roll out soon.

Enrolled citizens of the Navajo Nation can expect funds in the coming weeks with $2000 for every adult and $600 for minors, after Navajo Nation Tribal leaders signed a resolution approving $557 million in funding to be used as hardship assistance. 

“Our people need help,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said during the virtual signing on Facebook live. “This is the Navajo peoples’ money and we hear your voices.”

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The resolution allocates funding that will provide direct financial relief and help mitigate the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by providing $2,000 in hardship assistance for adults and $600 for minors who are enrolled citizens of the Navajo Nation.

“This is a historic day for all Navajo people. Those living here on the Navajo Nation and all of our people off the nation, including our men and women serving around the world in the armed forces,” Nez said during a signing.

“With the signing of this resolution, we are taking another big step forward by providing the support and resources that all families need during this difficult time,” Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said in a press release. “We ask our people to use the funds to truly help their loved ones so that we can emerge from this hardship that our Nation faces.”

During the virtual signing, comments came pouring in from spectators thanking the Navajo Nation President and Vice President as well as the Navajo Nation Council for passing the resolution.

“We heard directly from you, the Navajo people,” Nez said, alluding to visits to all the chapter houses across the Navajo Nation. He said that many people talked about facing hardship due to the pandemic, some not being able to pay rent or make their car payments.

“We’re not through this pandemic yet,” Nez said, and the tribe has the opportunity to help the Navajo people with the over $2 billion dollars they received from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“With the approval of another round of hardship assistance, we strongly urge our people to use the funds for essential items and services that will help protect and prepare your homes and families,” Nez said in a press release. “We love our Diné people and we do not want any more of our people to lose their lives to this modern-day monster known as COVID-19.”

The move comes after the resolution was passed by the Navajo Nation Council during a special session held virtually on Dec. 30 in Window Rock. The legislation called to allocate $557 million American Rescue Plan Act funds to send a second hardship assistance check to over 345,000 qualified Navajo people. It passed 18-2.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer sign Resolution CD-61-21 into law at the Office of the Navajo Nation President and Vice President in Window Rock, Ariz. on Jan. 4, 2022. Photo courtesy Office of the Navajo Nation President and Vice President

In 2021, the Navajo Nation received approximately $2.1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds from the Biden-Harris Administration to respond to the negative impacts of COVID-19.

Several members of the Navajo Nation Council certified the resolution on Monday, and sent it off to the Office of the Navajo Nation President and Vice President’s Office where they had 10 days to sign it or veto. The Nez-Lizer administration signed it a day later.

“These funds will help families pay for their mortgage or rental payments, purchase groceries and fuel, and get firewood or any other essential items they need right now. This money belongs to our people, and the Council has heard their requests and we have seen the need,” said Navajo Nation Pro Tem Speaker Eugenia Charles-Newton in a press release. 

The resolution provides $2,000 in hardship funding for up to 250,000 qualifying adults, and $600 in hardship funding to minors below 18 years old for up to 95,000 qualifying individuals. 

This financial assistance can be used to purchase personal protective equipment, pay utility bills, for rental assistance, and for educational-related expenses for students, according to the Navajo Nation Council.

“This resolution sends a clear message that our focus is on the people before projects. Our communities should no longer suffer when the Navajo government can provide them immediate hardship relief and some hope during this pandemic,” said Navajo Nation Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty in a press release. 

“This is the people’s money, and it should bring them each some sort of hope during troubling financial times,” said Navajo Nation Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown in a press release. 

This is the second hardship assistance check to be sent out to Navajo citizens, and individuals who applied for assistance during the first round do not have to reapply for the second round. Details about new applicants have not been released.

The checks will be distributed through the Navajo Nation Office of the Controller, and any questions about applications or qualifications for assistance should be directed there. The office can be found at https://www.nnooc.org/ or reached at (928) 871-6308

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Shondiin Silversmith
Shondiin Silversmith

Shondiin Silversmith is an award-winning Native journalist based on the Navajo Nation. Silversmith has covered Indigenous communities for more than 10 years, and covers Arizona's 22 federally recognized sovereign tribal nations, as well as national and international Indigenous issues. Her digital, print and audio stories have been published by USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic, Navajo Times, The GroundTruth Project and PRX's "The World." Silversmith earned her master's degree in journalism and mass communication in Boston before moving back to Arizona to continue reporting stories on Indigenous communities. She is a member of the Native American Journalist Association and has made it a priority in her career to advocate, pitch and develop stories surrounding Indigenous communities in the newsrooms she works in.

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